The one thing I managed to do this past summer was stock up on fresh fruit. My soul motivation was to be able to reach into my pantry as the chill hit the air to get a little taste of summer. The fruit made its way into several canning projects including strawberry balsamic jam and baked goods like my orange raspberry muffins. When cherry season rolled around I wanted to switch it up a bit.
Put ‘em Up, by Sherri Brooks Vinton, has several cherry recipes I was eager to try. With an eye towards homemade gifts for Christmas, I decided to make her Drunken Cherries. I let word slip out that I made them and I barely had enough on hand when Christmas rolled around.
As Sherri indicates in her book, the cherries are phenomenal over ice cream or as an extra special ingredient in a Manhattan. I decided to dress up a basic cheesecake recipe. There is no need to use an extravagant recipe. The cherries bring an incredible sweet bite to the cake.
I realize that if you live in the United States you are probably knee deep in winter and unlikely to find a surplus of cherries in your area. Take a moment and bookmark this recipe. A little planning will go a long way. You’ll be so happy to have this sweet little concoction in your pantry come this time next year.
I was a little overzealous with this experiment. The cheesecake recipe I used did not call for a mini tart pan. I wanted something cute and little so I decided to experiment. Lesson learned. The mini tart pan I used was not ideal for the texture and density of a mini graham cracker crumb base. Next time I’ll stick with what the recipe called for and use a regular sized tart pan or spring form pan instead.
Right before I decided to play around with creating a recipe for the filling I did a quick search for drunken cherry desserts and found the perfect recipe for a drunken cherry topping/filling on Local Kitchen. I’m so glad I took a minute to do a search because the filling is a perfect compliment to the cake.
No Bake Cheesecake recipe from Joy of Baking
Drunken Cherry Topping/Filling recipe from Local Kitchen
Yield: Approximately 1 quart
1 pound sweet cherries, such as Bing, stemmed but not pitted
1 1/2 cups bourbon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup water
Cut a slit in each cherry with a small pairing knife to allow the flavors to soak through. Combine the cherries and the bourbon in a quart jar.
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the syrup into the cherry-filled jar. Cover and shake. Let rest for at least 1 week. Keeps at room temperature for up to 1 year.
*Excerpted from Put 'em Up! (c) by Sherri Brooks Vinton, used with permission from Storey Publishing.